As we march ever closer to getting Plymouth’s Tall Ship sailing again part of my focus is in re-building our volunteer base. Our volunteer Mates, Watch Officers and Watch Leaders are the backbone of the Project and without them we couldn’t carry on the work we do. In fact every time the vessel leaves the pontoon we need a crew of at least 4, and that’s for a short hop around the Sound.

Thinking about volunteers had got me thinking into the type of person who had volunteered previously and I realised that nearly all were ex-service personnel. Our first Mate was a retired Army Lieutenant-Colonel from the Royal Signals, and we had several ex Marines as Watch Officers and a retired Air Marshall from the RAF!

Although we operated for only three years before having to suspend operations these ex-service personnel all helped to make a profound impact in the lives of the young people that sailed with us. They all had a fantastic ‘can do’ attitude which really transferred to our young people.

I recently met with the team from Turn to Starboard based in Falmouth and was inspired by the work they are doing in helping wounded soldiers and veterans to rebuild their confidence, develop new skills for a successful transition to civilian life, and re-connect with their communities, and re-build their family lives. There are some great synergies between our organisations and I hope when we get sailing again we can work together.

So this brings me to the crux of my post, that of building our volunteer base. Are you a retired or ex member of the Armed Forces? Do you want to help to inspire young people?

Many will not have considered it before but volunteering with us could be an invaluable tool to the whole process of confidence building, skill-set development, career transition, and life-style change for our soldiers, airmen and sailors, particularly those who, for whatever reason, have had to change track.

We’ll be holding some volunteering open days in the upcoming weeks & months so please keep in touch, or contact us if you would like to visit for a chat.

Help us to inspire, and be inspired!

Finally if you know of any organisations or contacts of people we could approach to reach ex-service personnel please get in touch. We are always interested in hearing from anyone with a real interest in the development of young people and who may have yacht sailing experience.

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